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28 September 2004
Suburban Garden
In Darwin it's always hot. So gardens need to be cool, relaxing places to be.

Suburban gardens are the greatest challenge of all, because not only do they need to look good, but they have to be very functional.

They need to be a cricket pitch one day, a basketball court the next, a place where you have barbeques and parties, a place where you can sit and relax after work, and then of course you'll want to grow some food, so you'll need a veggie garden, a herb garden, and p'raps a lime tree.

In this garden in the northern suburbs meets all that criteria, and it's an interesting and dynamic place for kids.

How have they done it? By breaking the area up into small areas or spaces, each with its own purpose, so that in this garden, you have lots of gardens.

The lovely little veggie garden is full of herbs and tucker plants.

The compost area is small but produces more than enough compost for the veggies and the small nursery.

And there's this lovely little worm farm quietly converting kitchen scraps into vermi-compost for the veggies, and vermi-tea to keep those orchids flowering like mad.

In our tropical environment we need lots of shade to keep the house cool and stop the kids from getting sunburnt.

All the different areas in this garden are connected by paths.

The pool is nestled in amongst rocks and plants and looks very natural.

When you have eight months of the year without rain, you get a bit desperate for the sight of water, so every tropical garden needs a pond, a place where you can sit and contemplate the world, and an oasis for all the lizards, frogs and birds that live in your garden.

This is very childproof garden, a place where they can really get in and enjoy it.

There's a music stand made from old bits and pieces.

Cubby houses are hot places in the wet season, but this platform works wonderfully. It can be anything from pirate ship, a stage, or just a hang where all the kids come after school.

With all the shade in this garden the accent is on foliage and texture rather than flowers. The flowers that are here are like jewels - something to be celebrated amongst the foliage.

The owners reckon the answer is careful planning. Not the sort you do on paper at the start, but the ongoing plans that happen as your life changes, the ones you make up as you're weeding or sitting in your favourite chair.

story notes

The suburbs are the areas around a city where people live.

Suburban means in the suburbs.

A challenge is a difficult job, or something that needs a lot of skill and effort to do.

Functional here means useful.
A kitchen should be functional and not just good to look at.

veggie garden
A veggie garden is a place where vegetables are grown.

Veggies is a common shortening of vegetables.

The Australian habit of shortening words and adding an 'ee' sound is the subject of today's spotlight.

worm farm
A worm farm is place where worms are kept.


Vermi- is a prefix meaning worm.

So vermi-compost is worm-compost or the waste from the worms after they’ve eaten the kitchen scraps.

The fertile liquid produced by the worm farm.

The pool is used for swimming.

nestled in
lying closely

A pond is a small pool.

In gardens, a pond is usually used for keeping fish or frogs, not for swimming.